Calcium deposit in brain is a condition that we come to know only when it is noticed on X-ray or other imaging techniques. Some people also call it calcification in brain, calcinosis or Fahr’s syndrome. With whatever name we call, the cause for calcium deposit in brain remains the same. It is a condition which is marked with abnormal accumulation and deposition of the mineral calcium in the brain tissue.
Calcium can get deposited in any part of the brain. The mineral gets deposited when there is too much of calcium or phosphorus circulating in the blood.Secondly, calcium can get deposited in the event of inflammation or damage to the brain tissue. Both genders are equally affected. Medically, calcium deposits can be significant only when they cause problems in normal functioning of brain.
What Causes Calcium Deposits In The Brain?
Actually calcification can occur in any part of the body. People who practice martial arts such as karate prefer to have calcium deposits in knuckles. They make their knuckles strong by punching them on hard surface. Inflammation and micro damage to the finger bones and knuckles with constant punching add extra calcium to the bones which makes their fist hard and strong.Rest of us however would not like such calcification, especially when the subject relates to brain.
As said before, brain calcification can occur as a result of either metastatic calcification or after the brain tissue is damaged or inflamed.
In metastatic calcification, there is excess of calcium and phosphorus circulating in the blood which eventually gets deposited in different organs of the body, brain being the one.
Tuberculosis is common disease in developing countries. Some people may suffer from tuberculoma (healed lesion of brain tuberculosis), a benign growth in the brain caused due to tuberculosis bacteria. Fever, headache, seizures, vomiting and malaise, neck rigidity and disorientation are common in brain tuberculosis.
Neurocysticercosis is another inflammatory lesion which can lead to deposition of calcium in the brain. It is a parasitic infection caused due to pork tape worm (taenia Solium). The disease is spread due to eating contaminated food. The egg of tapeworm enters into the body by eating contaminated food, especially pork, vegetables and fruit. It may reach in the brain through blood circulation. In brain it forms a cyst. The cyst after a period of treatment gets calcified.
Toxoplasmosis is another parasitic infection caused by toxoplasma gondii which can cause calcification in brain. The parasite is present in feces of cats. Pregnant women are more susceptible to its infection. In some of them it may be a cause for recurrent abortion.
Metabolic problems in the body can also cause deposition of calcium in the brain.
Aneurysm in brain artery may cause calcification in the brain. In aneurysm the artery becomes weak at certain point and becomes widened. This leads to calcium deposition in it.
Symptoms Of Calcium Deposits In Brain
Calcification can occur in any part of the brain. The symptoms may depend on the size of calcified brain tissue. If the size is small, the symptoms may be mild to moderate. If the size is large, the symptoms may be severe as the area of brain cell destruction is large. Following are the symptoms that can be found:
- Change in mental function.
- Loss of memory.
- Hand tremors.
- Patient finds difficulty in balancing.
- Blurring of vision, decreased vision.
- Spasmodic movements of hands and feet.
- Cannot walk properly. Feels like he will fall down.
- Loss of bladder and bowel control. This occurs in extreme cases.
- Patient may find difficulty on reading and writing.
- One side of body may feel numb and paralyzed.
- Weakness of muscles in the arms, face, and legs.
- Body becomes stiff and rigid. The neck in particular becomes rigid.
- Blank facial expressions.
Calcium Deposits In Brain Treatment Options
In most cases, brain calcification treatment depends on the underlying cause. Imaging techniques such as X-ray, CT scan and MRI of brain are of prime diagnostic value. The doctor takes into consideration all aspects such as physical signs and symptoms, diagnostic tests and history before considering the treatment plan.
In most cases, when the calcium deposits are small, treatment is begun with medications. Anticoagulants and anti inflammatory medications, anti parasitic, antiepileptic medications are given according to the symptoms.
If deposits are large and compress brain to great extent, the doctor may consider to excise and remove the calcified area.